In 1 Peter 2:2-5 we read:
As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation: If so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet. Unto whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen and made honourable by God: Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
This passage is especially apt right now, because of the references to “newborn babes” and “living stones”.
First, the theme of newborn babes is particularly important precisely at this time of the liturgical year. In the ancient Church the catechumens were readied over a long period through traditio and redditio, scrutinies and vigils. Finally the were baptized at Easter and they were clothed in their white garments. Augustine referred to them as his “newborn babes”. During the Easter Octave the wore their garments until finally they were put off and deposited on the Sunday “in albis depositis” in the treasury as a testimony to their new “adult” status. The introit chant for Sunday in albis, the Octave of Easter, is Quasimodo geniti infantes, precisely our passage… “As newborn babes”.
Next, there is the reference to “living stones”.
Our churches are “baptized” when they are consecrated. Just as, in our traditional rites” we begin outside the church with our baptisms, so too with the consecration of a church. There are exorcisms and then an entrance. Then the space within is prepared through more exorcisms. The place is washed with special water, it is named, it is anointed with chrism, candles are given to it, it’s heart, the altar is readied and clothed with white garments only put it symbolically after Holy Thursday.
Rocky stones make buildings, but living stones make churches.
My prayer is that the eldest daughter of the Church, France, may, through this blow to its rocky heart, begin beating again in living Faith. May she embrace the stone that she rejected and make Him again their cornerstone. Through her history, she has been taught by heaven what to do and there have been dread consequences when He has been ignored, as, for example, when France was told to embrace Christ’s Sacred Heart. The request was not headed and the Terror resulted. One hundred years later, Sacre-Coeur was built above Paris in reparation.
Chesterton said that coincidences are really divine puns. The figure of a pun is lighthearted, but the point is clear enough. Providence provides with sign posts on good roads and on rocky paths.
What was torn down can be rebuilt. Rocky churches have been raised after being razed.
St. Paul’s outside-the-walls was destroyed by a fire that started on the roof due to careless workers.
The Abbey of Montecasino was wiped out by intentional bomb ordered by (probably anti-Catholic) generals.
I don’t have to multiply examples.
Catholic hearts and minds of many around you may look like those photos, above, or of the horrible images we saw of the roof of Notre-Dame, burning, the spire coming down.
Pray for the rebirth of newborn babes of Faith in France and the rebuilding of the Church through beautiful, fire-washed living stones.
Pray, dear readers, through your sharing in the holy priesthood which you received in baptism, to which 1 Peter 2 refers above, and offer your Holy Week penances, perhaps more penances than usual, for the sake of reversions and conversions.